VoIP is also widely known as Voice Over Internet Protocol. This new technology allows voice traffic to easily transmit over an IP-based network. VoIP is extremely popular among both individuals and businesses because of its very low cost. VoIP can operate through either software or hardware and sometimes a combination of both.
VoIP software is generally less expensive and most of the introductory VoIP products were software based. Software is used with VoIP to compress the voice signal, translate it into packets and ship it over the Internet. This type of software is called a softphone and requires the use of a computer to establish VoIP. It requires a speaker and a microphone to connect to your computer. This connection allows it to function like a phone.
Some of this software is available free of charge from several different providers. The most popular of these is SKYPE. SKYPE actually began the introduction of free software downloads. It does have some requirements though. In order to use it, the other party must be at their computer and free computer-to-computer calls are only available to those who also have their software. It is easy to download and use, works with most computers and offers unlimited voice calls.
It is available for residential or business environments. If you want to make calls to land lines or cell phones, you will have to pay a monthly or per call fee. For the traveling person, VoIP software is advantageous. All they need is a laptop.
The software allows the laptop to operate as an IP phone with speaking and listening devices. All calls made within a VoIP provider's service network are free. Charges apply to calls outside the network. Another great benefit is a low international calling rate. So, if your business does work globally, this will be a great benefit.
It is important to evaluate different software options available. Since the system is run by software, an easy to understand user interface is imperative. Look for one that will enable you to manage your whole system. Also, find out if it supports your current operating system.
Since you don't really know what you're getting until you actually set it up and operate it, it is a good idea to try it out before you purchase it. A drawback to soft phones is some users don't like speaking into a microphone. They may feel more comfortable with the regular phone they are use to. In this case, USB handsets can give them the feel of a real phone. Although the sound quality with VoIP software has greatly improved, it is still not on the same playing field as hardware based VoIP. There are many different software options, such as SPYKE, GloPhone and BuddyTalk, waiting for you to take advantage of them.
Many of these are free downloads. But keep in mind; while basic features are free, sometimes-additional components such as voice mail will carry a fee. By researching and testing, you are sure to find VoIP software that will bring you satisfaction.
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